Police veteran critiques TSA procedure

Deirdre Walker, a 24-year police veteran who retired after serving as the Assistant Chief of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Department of Police writes up a recent interaction with the TSA in the Albany airport, subjecting it to critical policing analysis and finding it sorely, sorely wanting. This is a very good critical piece on conducting good security and curbing excess, and if there were any justice in this world, this woman would be put in charge of the TSA tomorrow.

Finally, I am most concerned about the "random" nature of my repeated selection for secondary screening. If there is no discrimination at work, and my selection is entirely random, then we have yet another, and probably more significant problem.

For years in policing, we relied on random patrols to curb crime. We relied upon this "strategy" until someone went out and captured some data, and did a study that demonstrated conclusively that random patrols do not work (Kansas City Study).

As police have employed other types of "random" interventions, as in DWI checkpoints, they have had to develop policies, procedures and training to ensure that the "random" nature of these intrusions is truly random. Whether every car gets checked, or every tenth car, police must demonstrate that they have attempted to eliminate the effects of active and passive discrimination when using "random" strategies. No such accountability currently exists at TSA.

"Do I have the right to refuse this search?"